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Title: The experience of working as a therapist when English is not your first language : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Harvey, David Ward
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 4090
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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Multilingualism is now considered to be the norm rather than the exception across the globe (Bialystok, 2001). Research about multilingualism has shown that self (Marcos & Urcuyo, 1979), memory (Scharuf, 2000) and emotion (Caldwell-Harris & Ayçiçeği-Dinn, 2009) are all experienced differently for multilingual individuals depending on the language they are speaking. These facets of psychological functioning are also important in managing reactions as a therapist and developing a therapeutic relationship with a client. The last in particular has been seen as an important contributor to positive therapy outcomes (Norcross, 2010). There are few national data available showing the languages spoken by regulated therapists in the UK. The present study was designed to explore these issues further. Firstly, a web-based survey was completed by 101 multilingual therapists nationwide. Within the sample of respondents, 30 countries of origin and 39 languages were represented. Subsequently, six participants were selected to take part in semi-structured interviews. The interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Two sets of results are presented. This first focuses on experiences of delivering therapy in English as a non-native language. Three levels of themes were identified. The first consisted to two master themes: Feeling challenged and Feeling equipped. The second level consisted of three main themes: Feeling accepted in the workplace, Achieving a sense of robustness in therapy and Achieving a sense of competence in therapy. Each master theme had two sub-themes, which completed the third level. The second set of results is based on the experiences of delivering therapy in a first language having trained in English. Three themes were identified: Feeling awkward and less confident, Feeling a greater distance from the client and Developing cultural dexterity. The themes are discussed in relation to wider psychological literature. Strengths and limitations of the study are noted, and recommendations for clinical practice and future research made.
Supervisor: Martin, C. ; Collins, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available